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WCD assists in floodplain issues,mapping, management and insurance considered

September 28, 2011

New National Flood Insurance Rate Maps were presented to Wayne County municipalities by Federal Emergency Management Agency officials recently. The Pennsylvania Floodplain Management Act (Act 166 of 1978) requires that all municipalities enact and enforce an ordinance to meet the requirements of the Pennsylvania Floodplain Management Act and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

The Wayne Conservation District (WCD) is carrying out the program for the PA Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) in Wayne County. “Our new NFIP maps were released during the summer of 2011 and we will be reaching out to each municipality to assist them with updating their floodplain ordinances,” said watershed specialist Jamie Knecht.

Ordinances have been received from approximately half of the townships. The WCD will review those ordinances with the townships during a 12- to 14-month process. At the end of that period, townships will adopt new floodplain ordinan-ces to reflect changes on the maps. Townships are asked to inform residents whose area may have changed.

“Residents should be checking the new floodplain mapping at their municipal offices as they advertise to do so, in order to assess whether or not they are in a flood-prone area,” said Knecht. “Some maps have changes on them, while others do not have any major changes.”

The process affects national flood insurance, which can be purchased at a less expensive rate than private flood insurance as long as the township follows the requirements. Homeowners with federally backed mortgages who are located in a floodplain are required to have flood insurance. “As long as the municipality participates in the NFIP, then its residents are eligible to obtain flood insurance through that program at a reduced rate before the new ordinances are adopted,” explained Knecht.

Some of the tasks WCD will carry out in relation to the program include establishing a floodplain management resource library for use by local municipal officials; providing education on floodplain management and related topics; working with municipalities to amend outdated ordinances; and providing technical assistance with permitting, ordinance adoption, administration and compliance.

For more information contact the WCD at 570/253-0930.